More Discussion on the New Translation

Two new articles have been written about the new translation. I debated whether to link to them during Holy Week for fear of disturbing the solemnity of the week. However, given the stature of those who wrote them and the observations the writers make, I would be remiss to not point our readers towards these new articles. However, in order to keep the peace during Holy Week I have closed comments on this post.

The first letter on the new translation was written by Bishop Trautman, Bishop Emeritus of Erie, PA and former chair of the BCL. His letter echoes the letter by Fr. O’Collins. The letter was run at The Tablet and is titled: “The New Missal has Failed.”

In his letter Bishop Trautman calls for the authorization of the 1998 English translation by ICEL “to replace the present failed text of the New Roman Missal.” He references some of the problems with the new translation, including obscure terminology and ways of speaking that are foreign to the faithful.

Trautman believes the text of new translation does not reflect Sacrosanctum Concilium’s vision for the Church’s liturgical rites. He calls attention to paragraph 34 which says: “The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity, they should be short, clear – and they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension and normally should not require much explanation.”

Feel free to check out the full text of his letter over at The Tablet’s blog.

The second post was published by Brendan McCarthy, the Letters Editor and Arts Editor of The Tablet, and is titled “The Issue that Outpaces all Others.” At the beginning of his post, McCarthy notes that The Tablet has received roughly 100 letters to the editor addressing its publication of Fr. O’Collins’ open letter. McCarthy also writes that even before Fr. O’Collins’ open letter there has been a constant flow of letters expressing concern about the new translation.

The 2010 Missal is the issue that most exercises people who write to the Letters page. Of the 70 or so letters waiting to be read when I arrive in the office on Monday, there are usually half a dozen letters on this one subject and this has been the case for the last two or three years. They’re mostly not from the “usual suspects”. Many are from readers writing to The Tablet for the first time.

Additionally, McCarthy notes that after the publication of O’Collins’ letter few people have written letters in opposition to what he said. However, McCarthy does acknowledge that several have come in since they published Fr. Leo Chamberlain’s letter supporting the new translation.

McCarthy ends the post by saying that the new translation remains a roadblock for a number of Catholics.

Once again, I find myself trying to manage down the correspondence again, and highlighting different topics. There are other issues we need to talk about. But recent weeks suggest to me that the new liturgy is not finding acceptance, and that it’s only a matter of time before the issue will be back on the Letters’ page again.

I think McCarthy is right to say that the new translation is still a stumbling block for many of the faithful despite attempts to ignore or quell complaints. What this means for the Church and how she will move forward remains a topic of much debate.